Displaying articles for: May 2011
The future of the Internet may be taking another leap - the mobile app is what’s driving the Internet in business, entertainment and social networking. And according to Forrester Research, it will grow to be the dominant Internet point of presence.
And our technological transaction future doesn’t stop there – Google Wallet is just one of the emerging phone-swipe purchasing apps that will be available to further increase our reliance on cell phones into all-in-one devices.
What does this mean for you as a small business? Clearly, location-specific offers for retailers will become ever more important. If you aren’t using Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook and other services that can target your market, you’re missing out because they are commonly used apps on mobile phones.
This week also marked the end of Oprah Winfrey’s daily variety show may have been the last mega-audience platforms for small business. Her “favorite things” and an audience of millions made some small businesses scale up in ways they’d only dreamed of before her endorsement.
And if you want to nominate an influential business, group or media outlet that has had an impact on small business to be named one of 2011’s top 100 small business influencers, then do it here. You have until July 11th before voting begins!
Happy Memorial Day one and all, with special thanks to the many who have served our country and paid the ultimate price for our system built on free enterprise.
With Father’s Day fast upon us, it makes sense for us to recognize some of our entrepreneurs who do double duty as dads. If you’re a dad and a Verizon customer who owns your own business, we have a contest that recognizes all your hard work.
Verizon’s ‘Hardest Working Small Biz Dad’ contest begins today and runs through June 19th. It’s simple to enter – just share your story with us. Tell us how you manage running your own business and your household by either uploading a short video or submitting a blog post.
The ‘Hardest Working Small Biz Dad’ in America will win $5,000 cash, 6 months of Verizon Websites powered by Intuit or Verizon WebListings, and free monthly maid service for an entire year. Just think of all the points you’ll earn with your spouse if neither of you need to clean for an entire year! Imagine the other things you can do… catch up on projects or finally tackle that long list of errands. The cash can go toward anything you desire, whether you put it towards your business or invest in some new technology (see the latest DROID phones here)… It’s your call. You deserve it!
Below you’ll find details on the contest and don’t worry if you want to submit a video, but don’t quite know how; our friends at Ladies Who Launch prepared a tutorial video to show you how!
Contestants need to be a Verizon or Verizon Wireless customer and submit a brief video (not to exceed 2 minutes with a URL link to their video submission) or a blog post (maximum 325 words) to this announcement in the comments section below. You will have to establish a log-in if you have never logged in before. Once a log-in is established you can submit your blog post.
In addition to the $5,000 and free cleaning service for a year grand prize, second prize will be a $600 gift card from Apple and $1,000 in a prepaid gift card. Third prize is a $500 prepaid gift card.
Again, dadpreneurs planning to submit a blog post, you must submit your blog post in the comment section that is at the end of this blog post. For dadpreneurs submitting a video, upload it to a video sharing site like Youtube or Vimeo and then share the link to your video in the entry form on the Verizon Small Biz Facebook page.
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- contests small business prizes
The Verizon Authors Series was designed to bring experts to small businesses. All this month we gave away featured author, Don Tapscott’s book “Macrowikinomics – Rebooting Business and the World.”
We will give away more of Don’s book the rest of this week and next.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25th, at 2 p.m. ET Don will host a live (free) webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center and then be available for an hour on Twitter on Thursday, May 26th at 6 p.m. ET to answer questions and offer advice.
I urge all businesses to seize these two opportunities to get insights from Don Tapscott directly. Consider these as free consultations with a business expert; so, why not participate? During this webinar Don will offer tips for businesses to compete with well-entrenched competitors. He will address how small businesses can benefit and learn from the principles of Wikinomics – collaboration, openness, sharing interdependence and integrity.
To register for the webinar click here. Towards the end of the webinar feel free to ask Don your questions or save your questions and ask him on Twitter. For more information about the Twitter chat click here, just be sure to include #bizbooks and follow @VzSmallBiz (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz).
Of course, feel free to post your questions in the comments section below and we’ll make sure Don answer it during the webinar or on Twitter.
Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology and advises business and government leaders around the world. He has authored or co-authored 14 widely read books including the 1992 best seller Paradigm Shift. His 1995 hit The Digital Economy changed thinking around the world about the transformational nature of the Internet and two years later he defined the Net Generation and the “digital divide” in Growing Up Digital. His 2000 work, Digital Capital, introduced seminal ideas like “the business web” and was described by BusinessWeek as “pure enlightenment." Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything was the best selling management book in 2007 and translated into over 25 languages.
This isn’t a new topic as many articles have been written about the importance of having a plan in case a disaster strikes and puts your business in jeopardy.
We have even blogged about it in the past and while it doesn’t seem like anything will ever happen to your business, it would be wise if you were prepared and had planned for it.
I speak about this not because of the many natural disasters we’ve seen on the news lately, but one small business owner in Westerly, Rhode Island, just received the U.S. Small Business Administration Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery.
Terrie Howard and I met the winner, Jamie Silvestri, last week during National Small Business Week. His story was very inspiring and it reminded me of the importance of planning – planning in case a disaster should even befall your business and having the right backup in place. While, you can’t plan for every detail, you can get your data backed up.
To read more of Jamie’s inspiring story and his determination to rebuild his business, click here. Below, in his own words, Jamie explained what he endured and shares some tips for fellow business owners.
I had a wonderful experience yesterday at the events taking place in Washington D.C. during National Small Business Week. The Social Media Forum: Get Your Business Connected offered great tips to the many small – and medium-sized businesses in the audience. I even learned about a few businesses using very creative and low-cost tactics to market their business and creating that buzz -- that everyone wants -- online. Bottom-line, you have to have great content. I (@VZSmallBiz) tweeted insights during the forum as did many just search in Twitter for #sbw2011 to read all about it.
My colleague, Terrie Howard, Verizon’s small business marketing manager, and I met the very lovely Rieva Lesonsky, president and founder of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. Rieva was also one of the speakers at the Social Media Forum. Terrie and I asked Rieva to share some highlights from the forum – see the video below. I won’t say, ‘I told you so,’ but do consider reading this previous post if your business still does not have a website.
As always, let us know how you like our content.
National Small Business Week was feted across the country this past week. And the question has been asked if small business is doing anything different than other businesses – i.e., holding onto their cash.
It may be that small businesses are continuing to use personal savings and credit cards because community banks are still having a hard time of it with lending. Community banks faced a deadline this week to apply for more than $9 billion in loan funding for small businesses.
In the meantime, there are opportunities to improve efficiencies in your business. Technology is making online presence and storage via the cloud simpler all the time and Verizon is one of the top 50 companies influencing cloud development. This article on cutting credit card transaction costs can be a major cost-saver. Verizon also offers discount on Chase Paymentech to help you manage your transaction costs.
Whatever your business, being efficient takes many forms, but low-cost operating capital and using technology to your best advantage will help you get growing! Let us know what you’re strategies are to keep your cash flow up and costs down.
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- small business loans cash flow credit
It’s National Small Business Week. As I had mentioned on Friday’s Weekly Roundup, we feel everyday here at Verizon, we work to help small- and medium-sized businesses be productive, have the right tools and put experts at your fingertips. So in our eyes, every week we’re celebrating small businesses!
Here at Verizon we support SMBs by bringing a broad range of products and services to help you run your business better, faster and more productively. From our bundled solution which includes the essential services your business needs (phone, Internet, Internet security, online backup, Google Apps for Business, and an easy do-it-yourself website building platform) to additional cloud bases services, we are SMBs champions.
This blog too as well as the free, live webinars presented by the Verizon Small Business Center (replays are available on-demand) are developed to bring insights from Verizon as well as from our guests and I hope you find them useful and helpful.
I hope you take advantage and engage with renowned author Don Tapscott, who will be giving a live free webinar next Wednesday (May 25 at 2 p.m. ET) as well as be available next Thursday for one hour at 6 p.m. ET to host a live Twitter chat (#bizbooks) to answer questions and to offer advice. To win a copy of Don’s book be the first 25 to follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz) and send an email to email@example.com telling us you did it).
To help the Small Business Administration further celebrate National Small Business Week, we will give five full sets of all of the books from the Verizon Author Series to the first five who sends us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) telling us why you’d like all these books, how you like our blog, what content you’d like to see, what help – if any – we can offer your business or give us some insights about your business. We’re just looking for direct insights from SMBs like you who read our blog… so expect some communication with us via email.
If you are a Verizon customer, a mom and run your own company, do enter in the Verizon Hardest Working Small Biz Mom Contest – this Sunday (May 22) is the last day for you to win $5,000 cash and other great prizes.
Note: Terrie Howard (watch her interview here) and I will be in D.C. later this week to attend some of the conferences and the luncheons taking place during National Small Business Week. If you’ll be at this summit send us a note to email@example.com so we can meet up, we are always looking to connect with our blog readers and our customers.
Stay tuned to this blog to get updates from the events taking place during National Small Business Week.
Happy Friday! Next week is National Small Business Week. I feel everyday here at Verizon, we work to help small and medium-sized businesses be productive, have the right tools and put experts at your fingertips. So in our eyes, every week we’re celebrating small businesses!
I hope you know that if you ever have a question about our services or if you have questions for our webinar guests or our featured authors, you can always reach out to us by posting a comment at the end of any of our blogs or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, I thought John Jantsch article on the importance of listening is a good read. He offers some great tips to leverage social media to get immense benefit.
If you missed this news report from It’s Your Biz last week, check it out -- many small- and medium-sized businesses do not protected their company from cybercrime. Here is another video, this one from the Wall Street Journal, on small businesses and how many SMBs experience fraud like consumers. If you don’t have security in place for your business, check out what Verizon offers.
This is a good read from Ramon Ray, what to do when you get hacked and how to prevent it.
Sorry if this week’s articles/videos are all related to security breaches – it’s just an important topic --for the most part many of these are preventable.
As always, let me what which articles you liked or share one you read and is helpful.
Enjoy your weekend!
Our featured author this month is Don Tapscott, author of more than 20 books including, “Macrowikinomics – Rebooting Business and the World.” In demand around the world for his insights into innovation, Don talks about how emerging trends are changing the competitive landscape for small businesses everywhere.
Thanks to the rise of the internet and the accompanying digital tools, never before has it been easier to start a business. Collaborative web technologies enable individuals and small businesses to harness world-class capabilities, access markets, and serve customers in ways that only large corporations could in the past. Small and medium size enterprises, for example, can make and sell products to a global market without having to manufacture anything themselves.
One study found that the availability of open source software, cloud computing, and the rise of virtual office infrastructure has driven the cost of launching an internet venture down from $5,000,000 in 1997, to $500,000 in 2002, to only $50,000 in 2008. In the United States in 2007 (the last year that data was available) 8 million out of the 12 million new jobs were created by startups less than five years old.
As more small firms exploit the Web for new resources, they can gain unprecedented access to global markets previously enjoyed by only the largest corporations-- without the main liabilities; bureaucracy, legacy cultures, systems and old ways of working – all of which can impede innovation. And as small companies expand, they create new jobs at a faster rate than their larger competitors.
The overlying message is that the monolithic, self-contained, inwardly focused enterprise is dead or dying. For years, companies pursued acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, and selective outsourcing in the quest to build top and bottom line growth. But in today’s economy these conventional tools are simply too rigid, and not scalable enough, to drive growth and innovation at a level that will make companies truly competitive. Successful companies today have open and porous boundaries and compete by reaching outside their walls to harness external knowledge, resources, and capabilities. They’re like a hub for innovation and a magnet for uniquely qualified minds. They focus their internal staff on value integration and orchestration and treat the world as their R&D department. All of this adds up to a new kind of collaborative enterprise—one that is constantly shaping and reshaping clusters of knowledge and capability to compete on a global basis.
The first 25 to post a comment below will get a signed copy of my latest book... go on, add to the discussion or let me know what you think of my post.
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- Tapscott Macrowikinomics small business trends
Do you really want to blog about entrepreneurship and venture capital? Sure.
My colleague Dan and I were asked by Ellen Yu and the Verizon Small Business team to share our thoughts and information about start- ups, entrepreneurship, from our perspective at Verizon's corporate venture investing program (http://verizon.com/ventures).
There is already a lot of very good information published or available online about these topics, and more is generated every day. There are some great commentators and very experienced investors who freely share their experiences. Many of our posts will highlight what we consider to be very good articles, books, blogs, podcasts, and other resources on particular topics of interest.
My top online recommendation is one of my favorite financial VC bloggers, Mark Suster from GRP Partners. First of all, his writing is excellent. His blog, Both Sides of the Table, is a great educational tool for anyone running a start-up or considering the VC funding route to fuel their company. He also has does a weekly podcast at ThisWeekIn called "This Week in Venture Capital". His interviews are informative and entertaining. I don't know where he gets the energy (or time) to do all this publishing and recording, but it is a great service to innovators and investors.
While you are checking out ThisWeekIn, you should also look for Jason Calacanis' podcast, ThisWeekInStartups. Jason gets an amazing line up of entrepreneurs to explain the traps and tricks they have learned following their passion.
In future posts we will provide additional recommendations about where we go to learn more every day about these topics. Of course, we’ll also share our personal insights with you too as we have vetted many business proposals from entrepreneurs seeking funding.
Here’s my first tip: Anyone can ask for funding, but a company that can recruit a strong team and deliver a great productdeserves to be funded and has the best chance to succeed. Continuously seek direct and critical input from advisors, customers, and vendors to objectively evaluate your team or product. Don’t be afraid of hearing negative feedback. Just the opposite. Thank the messenger and do whatever you can to address real or perceived shortcomings. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch was famous for his line, “How am I doing?” Make sure you know how others would answer the question about your company.
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- startup venture VC investment entrepreneur
Hello readers! Please meet Mark Smith (left) and Dan Keoppel (right), the team that runs Verizon Ventures, a specialized group that seeks out and invests in promising entrepreneurial companies to drive innovation in Verizon.
Verizon is constantly looking for new innovative products and services to bring to our customers. While we have engineers designing and developing new technology; the Verizon Ventures team also seeks out companies that complement Verizon networks, service platforms and distribution channels.
Now, before all of you send your business plans to Dan and Mark to ask for funding – do note that they and their team are looking for that one company that is developing the very next cutting edge technology. They are very selective in the company to invest in and once selected the funding from Verizon could range from seed money to $5 million depending on the needs and opportunities.
I asked both Mark and Dan to join as bloggers to provide their insights as both have reviewed many business plans and have heard many proposals from small- and medium-sized companies. I think you’ll find their insights invaluable… whether they share what entrepreneurs have done to impress them, tips to hone in your presentation skills or even the venture capital blogs they read and the stories they are following.
Of course, feel free to ask Mark and/or Dan your question(s); just post it in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post or their post.
You’ll read Mark’s first blog post tomorrow.
Today’s jobs report adds fuel to the economy’s split personality where employment is improving while unemployment persists at 9%. Even before this, however, small business owners were still planning to add employees to their staffs according to a Citibank survey.
The good news this past week, of course, is that whenever the cost of doing business (e.g., price of oil, interest rates) drops, the potential for improved profit margins increase. In fact, according to a FedEx Office poll it appears that 58% of small businesses believe the worst is over. The other news is that these same indicators could indicate a weakening in theU.S. economy.
On Tuesday NPR featured a story on Survival Tips For Small Business Owners which focused on the challenges small business owners face in an uncertain economy. But the advice offered on the program is that if you believe in your business and you’ve done your research, then you should stick with it.
Jim Blasingame in Forbes online this week described another survey of small businesses seeking capital and noted the top two categories (34%) didn’t want or need loans and those who had working relationships with their local community banks (31%). It’s not surprising that many small business entrepreneurs are focused on being self-sufficient or relying on a local community relationship for funding.
Regardless of month-to-month economic reports, any business needs to stay focused on customer relationships and its cost management. Keep this in mind while you get growing!
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- jobs report small business economy surveys
Don Tapscott is joining us as our May guest author to provide insights and advice to small businesses. Tapscott is well-known in business and economic circles for his incisive articulation of the trends and forces that shape the world economy and our lives.
The author of 13 books over the past 20 years, his most recent title, “Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World,” follows up on his 2007 international best seller, “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” and how companies can harness the mass participation in the online world to create new products, services and benefit from them. During his time with us, Tapscott will explore the themes in Macrowikinomics and how they can be applied by small businesses effectively in their strategies and day-to-day operations.
Speaking of which, tell us why you’d like a copy of Don’s book. The first ten to post a comment will get a signed copy of Macrowikinomics!
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- small business strategy Wikinomics Macrowikinomics Tapscott